Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

An Early Morning Reminder

Sometimes, we are asked to slow down.

This morning, I woke at 6 a.m.  It was, of course, a morning where I could have slept in.  School had been cancelled due to the snow and hubby was home until the afternoon anyway to help with rousing children.

My body had other ideas.

Instead of lying in bed trying to squeeze my shut eyes into submission, I gently shuffled into the kitchen and prepared some warm chamomile tea.  I then moved into the living room and turned off any lights behind me.  I sat in front of our large window, letting the tea warm me from the inside, and watched a quiet storybook before me.

The snow was still blue from the dark morning sky.  A substantial overnight storm had erased any traces of previous attempts to clear the ground, creating a glistening sheet that left no hints as to where the road might be.

The whir from the laptop fan started to enter my consciousness (a grating noise that before, I suppose, I'd learned to ignore).  I shut  it off and returned to the hug of silence.

And it was that that most held my awareness.  The silence.  Even the trees seemed to hold themselves in statuesque positions.  No movement.  In other scenarios, it might have been eerie.  Here, in that moment, I was deeply comforted by three words that popped into my head:

Death.  No breath.

Leaves were gone, all signs of emerging life blanketed under this light blue pile of glitter.  Everything held still.  No wind.  No breath.  And it was so absolutely beautiful.  It was as it should be.

With no breath, no cycle of in and out,
no seasons, no clearing out with the exhale and the winter,
no renewing with the inhale and spring,
life would cease.

I wonder - how close do we wander to death each day as we stifle our own breath...our physical breath as we limit deep breathing, rush through days...and our spirit's breath as we lay down in submission to "shoulds" and expectations.

I flirt with the thoughts of death that enter my head - not in a macabre way, but with the silent, still, pristine form that death brings to a vibrant life.  The transition that occurs.  The last exhale of this body so that we may inhale into a new space.

This morning, as my tea dwindled, I admit to returning to bed.  When I re-awoke, the snow plow had bustled up the blanket that had captivated me and the world was again panting all around.  But that beautiful moment of silence, that slow melting into breath and death through my living room window, has stayed with me.

For parents, for workers with bustling jobs, for anyone whose mind is not as still as the trees with no wind, I wish you even one morning where you too can experience this bliss.

Namaste.